Monday, June 21, 2010

Bankers give thumbs up to U.S. economy.

America’s bankers are more optimistic about the U.S. economy than they have been in quite awhile. According to the 17th Bank Executive Survey conducted by Grant Thornton, a global audit, tax, and advisory organization, only six months ago 24% of bankers expected the U.S. economy to improve. Now, when the survey was conducted from May 4-24, forty-five percent of bankers believe the U.S. economy will continue to improve during the next six months.

According to the survey, this is a statistically significant improvement over how bankers felt about the U.S. economy six months ago.

And, looking at the bankers’ local economies, there’s some optimism as well. More than one-third (35%) of bankers surveyed expect their local economy to improve in the next six months, up from 22% in December 2009. Only 9% of bankers expect their local economy to get worse, down from 18% in December.

The survey queried both large and small institutions which were both privately and publicly held. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents were from small banks with less than $500 million in estimated assets, while the remaining 41% of the banks had assets over that amount.

“Bankers across the country are starting to become more optimistic about both the U.S. economy and their own local economy,” noted John Ziegelbauer in a news release. He’s national managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Financial Institutions practice. “Their optimism about the economy is spilling over into their own banks, with bankers reporting that they are also cautiously optimistic about the number of people they expect to hire in the coming months. Overall, it appears that bankers believe that the economy has finally turned a corner.”

On the job front, a quarter of bankers say that their bank will increase hiring in the next six months, up from 18 percent in December; while the number of banks that plan to decrease staff has dropped slightly to 16 percent from 18 percent in December.

Survey stats.
Here’s a look at some of the statistics.

Will enthusiasm extend to bank marketing?
With this overall optimism from both large and small banks, plus the indication of additional bank hiring, will bank marketing budgets be reviewed and increased? It will be interesting if the bank execs’ enthusiasm extends to their own bank marketing.

Related articles in Bank Marketing:
16th Bank Executive Survey: New Survey hints at bank strategies and marketing forecasts.